For pilots, aviation fans, and those who love them, the summer of 2022 will likely go down as the season of Top Gun: Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick opened nationwide May 27, delivering up epic flight scenes. The butt-puckering flight sequences included in the sequel to Top Gun, more than three decades in the making, were made possible because of the creation of the Cinejet, a specially designed aerial camera platform based upon an Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, as well as the Embraer Phenom 300 and Airbus AStar used as aerial photo platforms.
Less than a month after it was released, the movie has raked in $402 million and counting, earning it the distinction as the highest grossing movie of the year, according to Deadline, a Hollywood breaking news site.
The financial success, it seems, is that for most viewers, the movie script has a bit of everything: love, loss, regret, reflection, conflict, plus airplanes, aileron rolls, and afterburners.
For one movie goer, however, Top Gun: Maverick was a “two-hour monstrosity.”
In a nearly 750-word review on the social network Letterboxd, reviewer “Brett” gave the movie half a star out of five stars. According to the site profile, Brett has watched 1,565 films, at least 26 of which he has reviewed so far this year. The film chapped his derrière so much that he said it rated lower than the 1.5 stars he bestowed upon the 2019 Hollywood production of Cats (which, OK, fair enough) and with the same rating contempt as the all-around horribly racist 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation.
“Even if one can ignore the rabidly bloodthirsty nature of this movie, it is still absolute garbage,” Brett said of Maverick. “The morals of this story are, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest: soldiers should ignore orders to stand down, and you should take actions without thinking about them. Our heroes follow these lessons throughout the story and are constantly rewarded for it. It is a child’s understanding of bravery and honor, coated in thick layers of some of the most painfully sentimental slime that Hollywood has ever produced.”
Brett took issue with his interpretation of the plot: “a bombing run over an Iranian nuclear facility near completion.” It was a story that stood in contrast with reality, Brett said, and would have set Tom Cruise and company up for what he deemed an “illegal and unconstitutional act of war.”
The politics of the film should not be ignored, Brett added.
“It is not a fun blockbuster nor an escapist fantasy, but a clear and unequivocal celebration of U.S. militarism,” he said.
“Top Gun: Maverick is a 131-minute long advertisement for death,” Brett concluded. “Aggressively unoriginal, wildly irresponsible with its messaging, historically revisionist…This is a masterwork of propaganda in defense of some of our nation’s worst traits, and it’s an enormous success,” Brett said. “I left the theater depressed and forlorn.”
In the barrage of criticism, however, one aspect of the movie was spared Brett’s barbs: the soundtrack.
The 1986 Top Gun soundtrack, which featured generational hits by Berlin and Kenny Loggins, continues to evoke emotion among the pilot set. (FLYING curated a list of special songs from the soundtracks of Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, as well as music that celebrates the unique aircraft and characters in both films.)
Are Brett’s criticisms warranted? We want to hear from you.